Surveying Desire XIII :
Observatory
 
 
 
Observatory was inspired by a structure reminiscent of Shaker barns, operating theatres, and early planetaria. The idea of viewing and being on view was central. The installation investigated the telescope as a tool of unrequited desire, and the relation of seeing to possessing.
 
Fictions responded to a gallery with varied ceiling heights, utilizing these differences in scale to create an “Alice in Wonderland” setting. An observation tower and huge symbols of desire (wishbone, horseshoe, rabbit’s foot, dice, etc.) figured in an investigation of the longing for companionship and its attendant fictions.
 
Quest juxtaposed excerpts from Mississippi River explorers’ journals and historical romance novels. Both addressed loneliness and romanticized the landscape, conflating searches for a northwest passage and companionship. The gallery was converted into a compass complete with evocations of the four winds.
 
This art/science collaboration investigated the many ways in which “the map is not the territory.” It entailed walking the local landscape and re-presenting those spaces through verbal and visual means. These ranged from historical accounts to geologic analyses and expressionistic drawings to scientific imaging.
 
© 2006 Carol Emmons